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This study followed 9 teacher candidates through a 3-week cultural immersion experience in which they volunteered in educational settings where they were not members of the majority culture. This learning experience was designed to help candidates better understand their culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse future students. A qualitative design with an ethnographic approach was used to explore the use of debriefing circles, based on Parker Palmer’s clearness committee structure. Debriefing circles were examined as a tool to facilitate self-reflection as a scaffold toward culturally responsive teaching. Candidate perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of the debriefing-circle discussion framework are analyzed.


Originally published in The New Educator, Summer, 2014.

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